Ahoy matey! Be a pirate for a day at Calico Jack Island.

Writer Claudia Gardner channeling her inner pirate.

Calico Jack Island, off the coast of Green Island in Hanover, is undoubtedly one of Jamaica’s best kept secrets.

Located less than 200 metres from the Half Moon Beach property of which it is a part, the tiny islet is a perfect respite for persons who simply want to relax in a setting surrounded by azure Caribbean waters and enveloped in nature. The only sound at the island are the waves gently lapping at the rocks or birds which fly past or perch in the nearby mangroves.

The waters surrounding the islet is ideal for snorkeling, as it has some of the healthiest coral reefs that can be found anywhere in the Caribbean.  Fishing is prohibited there because it is a fish sanctuary, and a nesting place for baby fish and crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters.

A section of Calico Jack Island. (Photos by Claudia Gardner)

Pirate Jack’s Shack is at the centerpiece of the island. It is where guests are able to dress up and play pirate, bawling out the traditional pirate’s cry, “Yo ho-ho and a bottle of rum,” all day if they wish, enjoy seafood cooked by “Pirate Jack” himself, whose role is played by chef Livingston Muirhead.

Meals are prepared by chef Livingston ‘Calico Jack’ Muirhead.

The food served on the island is delightful. During lobster season there is grilled lobster drizzled with garlic butter, which might be served with rice and peas and tossed salad, or fish or chicken as desired.

Quench ye thirst at the Pirate Jack Shack.

Guests travel by engine boat to the island, or by catamaran or glass-bottom boat from Negril. As you approach you are filled with either excitement or dread as the old black pirate flag with the human skull looms ahead, fluttering in the wind. On the island, the pirate theme is evident. There, pirate memorabilia and flags and funny signs state: “Beware of Pirates”, “Keep out” and “Enter if ye dare”.

The theme is perfect as this area was once a haunt of some of Jamaica’s most notorious pirates in the 1600s, including the famed female duo of Anne Bonney and Mary Read.

The skull and bone flag of Calico Jack Island.

Calico Jack’s Island in all its rustic loveliness, is a place that Jamaicans and tourists alike immediately fall in love with. It is away from built-up areas, but close enough to land that good swimmers can even swim across to the shore.   It has hosted over the years, wedding receptions, birthday parties and a whole host of get-together events.

Journey to Calico Jack Island

This place is a real treasure.  There is no place like it.

— Article written by Claudia Gardner